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What is business intelligence?

In general, business intelligence is the strategy and technology used by a company to analyze their data. There are a number of difference functions that fall under the business intelligence umbrella. These include analytics, data mining, processing mining, use of dashboards, etc.

The biggest problem most companies face is that they have a ton, and I mean a ton, of unstructured data. Successful companies have learned how to take this unstructured data and manipulate it so that it becomes structured data. The structured data is then used by decision makers to make operational and financial decisions.

What are the key steps to take unstructured data and turn it into useable information?

There are really 5 key steps needed to take unstructured data and turn it into reports that can be used by executives and managers to make decisions. The five key steps are as follows:

1) Unstructured data is extracted from various systems and loaded into a data warehouse.

2) From there, engineers organize the data into data sets.

3) From there, BI analysts and other analytic professional run queries on the data to extract the specific data they want.

4) The data is then loaded into various analytic tools so that the data can be analyzed. This is typically where dashboards and reports are created.

5) The dashboards and reports are analyzed by executives and managers.

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